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Top 10 Renegade moments of 2016

As we close the book on 2016 and welcome in a New Year, let’s pause and reflect on the Top 10 Renegades moments of 2016.  Each year this team takes steps at improving and 2016 was no exception.  On and off the field we had a lot of fun and a lot of success.  As we have done in previous years, Let’s review the top 10 moments of the season through the eyes of Coach, Rob Weissman.  We will post one post a day for the next 10-12 days…so please check back to remember some of the top moments of the year.

#10 Soto finds his Rhythm

Boston Renegades -Ben Coiner Lifts Luis Soto in the air in celebration

Ben Coiner Lifts Luis Soto into the air after he scored a pair of runs vs the NJ Titans in Long Island

Often times, the things that are memorable happen off the field.  What is great as a coach of the Boston Renegades is seeing hard work off the field pay dividends on the field. Luis Soto entered the year as a third year player.  With his blindness comes problems with his memory which is all due to how he lost his sight as a kid.  When the season started, we took a team stance of the importance on learning the mechanics of hitting.  We asked all the players to explain to the coaches the key mechanics we were focusing on.  From day one, Soto was frustrated and went into a shell.  He was frustrated he could not recall things and was concerned he would not be able to contribute.  I spent many hours on the phone with him in the spring trying to coach him up and show him that athletically he is quick and has raw power.  We talked about the fact, he was in better shape than many guys on the team.  We talked about the main thing holding him back was his confidence.  Coming into the season, soto was a career .056 hitter with just one run in 18 at-bats.  In our first tournament of the year in long island Soto had a great game against the New Jersey Titans.  In his 2nd trip to the plate he hit a ball into the ground which did not go very far but his speed beat the defense and he scored.  The team erupted.  Later, in the same game, he hit a laser into the deep outfield and cruised into the base for his first career multi run game.  He scored more runs in this game than he did in his whole career!  What was so memorable for me here as a coach was two things.  First, it was amazing to see his confidence turn so quickly in that game and to see a smile return to his face where it had not been all year.  Secondly, Lisa Andrews captured a moment on camera that I loved (see the above picture).  First year coach, Ben Coiner was so pumped for Soto that he lifted him into the air.  I was a proud coach at that moment.  Proud of Soto and super proud of the culture on this team to see a first year coach so excited at that moment.  It was priceless and a top 10 moment of my 2016 season.

 

#9 The Knock out Punch

Mac and Than at the Banquet

Thanh and Mac two days after the collision. Mac has a black eye to show for it

Not every moment we have is memorable for a good reason.  Some of the most painful things tend to stay with us, especially in sports.  That happened in our bracket game against the Indy Thunder.  In this game, we had one of the worst injuries in team history.  We entered this game undefeated on the year.  We were facing off against the only other undefeated team at the World Series.  The winner of this game went to the title game while the loser went to the semi finals.  The score was 6-4 and the Indy Thunder was leading going into the top of the 5th inning.  Gerald Dycus hit a laser into left center field that was most likely going to be a run with his blazing speed.  As the ball sailed past Third Baseman, Than Huynh, he turned his back and chased after it.  Joe McCormick was taking an angle to the ball from his left field spot and before anyone could react, the two collided in a loud bang.  Both players went down.  At first, it looked like these two tough guys would shake it off as it looked like Thanh may have gotten the worst of it since he is literally half the size of Joe McCormick.  There was no blood which was a good sign.  When we got to them, Thanh was a little shell shocked but Joe was dizzy.  As Mike Marciello assessed the situation, we saw Joe’s face begin to swell and swell quickly.  His game was over as Mike pulled him.  Thanh on the other hand remained in the game as he was playing on pure adrenaline.   A short time later, we called for an ambulance and Joe was taken to the hospital.  Thanh was later pulled from the game and was limping very badly the rest of the tournament. Thankfully, these two players would eventually heal and be ok.  In the 15 years of playing ball, this went down as the worst in-game injury, and one of the worst injuries we have seen in team history.  In the end, Joe had fractures in his face and sinus cavities.  Thanh had bone bruises to his leg and foot.  This collision changed the outlook of the World Series and helped the Thunder win this game.  Boston showed its resolve by digging deep and winning the semi final game against Colorado without these two players.  The team truly supported each other.  You can be sure that moment will be discussed and a lesson taken from it as the Renegades look to improve in 2017.

#8 Feeling after the San Antonio Game

Thaxton scored 5 times, Haile 4 times while Rob Dias had 3 runs and 3 stops and Justen Proctor made three stops to lead the Renegades over the Jets

Before the season started, we spoke about the fact it could be a very special year.  The excitement was there from pre season through the entire year. As the World Series brackets were getting created, it became apparent that we could be the recipient of some poor seeding.  Because the league had a lot of turnover, two new teams were formed with many talented veteran players.  These teams were seeded at the bottom of the brackets.  We were supposed to be playing the 19th seed as our first game at the World Series.  A game in which the strategy would have been to rest some of the starters and get some valuable playing time for the rest of the team.  Instead, we got the upstart San Antonio Jets and one of the top pitchers in the history of the sport.  We had two ways to look at this.  We could have complained at how unfair the system was or  shut up and prove to the world what we can do.  We chose the later.  As the league discussed on social media which teams were going to get beat, The consensus claimed the Jets would beat the Renegades.  What happened?  We decided this was a great opportunity.  If we lost, who cares, it had no effect on the rest of the World Series.  If we won, the confidence would help us all week.  What happened, We came out and played well.  We put up huge numbers and won 20-9.  When the game was over, I overheard a few of the Jets players and coaches saying wow, Boston is for real.  Looking around the Renegade team you could see the confidence in the squad.  It was a special feeling and we knew right there, it looked good to set the team up for an amazing run.  Playing a team who we predicted would finish top 5 in the league and beating them set this season up to be the most special in our 15 year team history.  By the way, the Jets did finish in 5th place!

#7 Eight inning win vs Philly Earns 6th Beast of East Title

Team photo of the Renegades in Philly

Team photo of the team we took to Philly which clinched the Beast of the East title

With 5 teams in the Beast of the East for the first time, the format had changed a little bit. We adjusted things so we would only play each team once and the top three teams would play each other a second time.  We entered the day 3-0 and needed to get a win against Philly.  A win here would surely secure another Beast of the East run as it would help us with many tie breakers.  One major hurdle was they recruited one of the game’s best pitchers, Johnny Walker from Colorado.  Walker has owned the Renegades through history including a walk off win in the 2015 World Series with the Colorado Storm.  To make things worse, the fields were lightning fast.  Almost like a putting green, we knew that putting a ball into play would result in a run the majority of the time.  On the bump for the Renegades was Jamie Dickerson in only his 2nd year as a pitcher.  The game started slow as both teams went scoreless.  The runs would soon come  After three innings, Boston held a 5-3 lead but in the 4th, Philly tied it at six.  Boston pulled ahead in the 5th 9-7 but could not hold the lead as Philly scored in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game and force extra innings.  Both teams scored a pair in the 7th but in the 8th inning Dickerson connected with Christian Thaxton, Rob Dias and Shawn Devenish and the defense held in the bottom of the inning as Boston held on to win 17-15.  It would be 1st of 3 times the Renegades would come back and beat a Johnny Walker team in the 2016 season.  The team was fired up.  This team did all of this while Joe McCormick went through an epc struggle with 6 strike outs in 7 trips to the plate.  He was left in the game because of his power potential and the fact he led both teams in defensive stops with 5.  This win gave the Renegade squad confidence it could play in a tight game, it could win with conributions from players up and down the line-up and it was a huge step for Jamie Dickerson as a pitcher.  We were on his back this weekend as he grows in this league.  For the first time since 2006, we went on a trip relying soley on a 2nd year pitcher.  He delivered big time.

#6 Lucas Lectures the team About Hard Work

Lucas joined the squad in 2015 and in 2016 his voice was a part of our success

Before every practice, the team huddles to discuss a few things.  Before one of our practices we had a discussion about walking the talk.  The team had been talking a lot about winning  world title.  There was a buzz from the start of the season.  I had challenged the players early in the season to see if they were truly working toward that goal.  At this point, the message was i felt they could do way more.  We went around taking turns talking about what players were doing off the field.  There was not enough work going on.  At some point during the talk, 2nd year coach Lucas Schwallie had something to say.  This 17 year old had earned the respect of many of the players with his work in the cages with them.  After being mostly quiet in his rookie campaign, Lucas felt more comfortable this year.  He had the floor and firmly said “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work”.  He then told us this was from Kevin Durant.  As a coach, I was totally fired up hearing this.  Here was a High school junior telling these guys to work harder and most importantly, they listened.  I was just loving the culture of this team.  Though Lucas did not travel with the team, he was one of the unsung heroes of the season.  He was a steady presence at practice and was our primary hitting instructor for most of the year because of his ability to be at Wednesday practices.  He watched videos, he analyzed swings and gave feedback.  But this moment stood out to me.  Not only did I love the moment, I recognized how special Lucas is and that he will go anywhere he wants to in this world as he gets ready to go to College in the fall of 2017.  We are lucky he found us one day in the streets of Boston when he asked one of our players how a blind guy with a cane was holding a bat.  Just a tremendous, accountable outgoing young man!

#5 – Put it Behind You Rook, We Need You

Shawn Devenish scoring a run in Philly by hand tagging a base. this burned him in our game against Colorado..and he learned from it

It’s the 12th game of the season.  Boston has 11 wins vs zero losses and facing the Colorado Storm.  The same team that knocked the Renegades into the losers bracket in 2015.  The team that wins this game is guaranteed a top 3 finish in the World Series and will be one of just 2 teams still alive without a loss in the winners bracket.  Colorado had just scored 2 runs to take a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th inning to retake the lead in a dog fight.   Joe McCormick led off the bottom of the 4th to tie the game.  With one out, Shawn Devenish came to the plate representing the go-ahead run.  On the 3rd pitch, he grounded a ball up the middle deep into left center field and raced to third base.  It looked like a sure run.  But in beepball, nothing is certain.  Devenish raced to the base and threw his right arm out to tag it…and he missed.  As panic struck, he put the brakes on, stumbled and tried to reverse direction.  Colorado’s Rocky Zamora had the ball in the air and Shawn Devenish was out.  He was now 0-3 in this game.   Things felt worse when Guy Zuccarello struck out to end the inning and the game was now 6-6 and we failed to turn over the line up to our top hitter, Christian Thaxton.  Shawn was visibly very upset at his misfortune.  As the team took the field, I took the opportunity to make sure he was looking at things differently.  I calmly approached him (historically, not my strength), put my arm around him and we talked.  We talked about the play.  We talked about how he needed to be more aggressive at hitting the base dead on when it was harder to hear.  We talked about the wrist injury he  suffered earlier in the year which he hurt going over third base in Long Island.  We talked about mental toughness and focusing on the moment.  We then talked about how important he was to the team.  We talked about the fact his presence in the lineup was a big reason we were 11-0.  We talked about the most important play in the game being the next one.  Shawn’s body language changed.  It was a good talk, possibly one of my best ever.  With anticipation, he came to the plate in the 5th inning  and struck out on 4 pitches.  It did not phase him.  I was excited to see that.  We entered the bottom of the 6th inning down 13-9 and staring at the losers bracket.  but the Renegades don’t ever quit.  With one out, Rob Dias, Joe McCormick and Larry Haile plated runs to make it 13-12.  Shawn Devenish came to the plate representing the tying run.  With three strikes, he hit a laser into right center.  As he ran to the base, I watched closely.  He ran with confidence.  This time there would be no hand tag.  He tackled the base.  Game Tied!  He went from feeling like crap to pure joy.  His smile was as big as they get.  The team was fired up and screaming for joy.  Colorado was slumped over in the field and their body language showed that momentum had shifted.  This game was not over.  More importantly, Shawn showed everyone just how coachable he was and that he is a ball player who is able to learn from his mistakes and make his game better.

#4 The student finally beat the Teacher

JT Herzon of the Chicago Comets has been a mentor to Rob Weissman and The Renegades for years

The biggest influence on our Renegade coaching style from outside our organization has been JT Herzog of the Chicago Comets.  When I first started coaching in 2003, JT told me he would be willing to share some ideas with me.  He spent a few hours on the phone with me that off season and in-season after this.  He was always willing to share his ideas on drills, coaching, game management and ways to make the league better.  I soaked up everything he said.  Not only did I know he was a great coach, but he had won a World title in 2003 and he had built the largest program in the country.  Chicago was a model to try and achieve.  Every year, JT would always have kind words for the improvement we had made and encouragement for the players that things were moving in the right direction.  Though the team was having success, it had never beaten Chicago.  Most everyone who follows the Renegades is aware the Long Island Bombers used to own us.  They had a 7 game winning streak before we ever beat them.  What most don’t know is two teams have done more damage to us.  The Kansas All-stars and the Chicago Comets.  The Comets had beaten us 10 straight times including three times in 2013.

As we entered our game against them on Thursday morning, I felt good this game could be different.  We were clicking and confident.  This was our 11th game of the year and we were 10-0 on the season.  For the first time, I looked at their bench and they looked thin.  The days of them having 20 players were over.  The Comets won the coin toss which made me a little nervous and reminded me of a 2009 game which we lost to them in extra innings.  The game started as a dog fight.  The first two innings saw one of their best players go down with a hand injury, another one of their players almost run into our bench and a long friendly debate on how that play should have been called.  After two innings despite this drama, Chicago clung to a 5-4 lead.  Our bats woke up. Boston scored 7 runs in the 3rd and 4th and after 4 innings Boston was ahead 11-6 and the general feeling was this was going to be our game.   Then we struggled in the 5th as Thaxton struck out for the first time all game. Cochran struggled over the final two innings and we scored just once against 4 strike outs. To make things worse, Chicago is well coached and showed no quit.  They battled back.  With just one out in the 6th inning they had pulled the game to a one run deficit.   Mike “Hoodlum” McGlashon would have the first chance to tie it.  I was calmly pacing the sidelines and talking to the defense.  I spoke to them calmly and tried to keep them focused.  He grounded out to Justen Proctor.  That brought up Juan Gonzalez who had scored three times in this contest and was killing us.  I’m not going to lie.  I had a hard time watching him hit….but when contact was made..I knew it was not solid.  Rob Dias raced to make the stop and we held on to win.  The celebration on the field was like we won the Series.  It would be a huge victory this week..and this confidence would carry over in our other games.  I will never forget Guy Zuccarello telling me after this game…that he was shocked that I actually helped keep the team calm during the Comet’s comeback.  Though JT is no longer the head coach on the squad, his influence is still heavily soaked in on that team.  He approached me with a smile and a big congratulations.  We had finally beaten them.  I had finally beaten my mentor.  It only took us 14 years to make it happen!

 

Rob Dias at the plate

Rob Dias takes a hack during the early rounds of the Series. His biggest hit would come against Colorado and in just three seasons he is tied for the all-time lead in walk-off hits with 2

#3  Dias Gets His 2nd Career Walk-Off

Our first match against Colorado is going to make the top 10 list again.  This time, I need to focus on another moment.  In the 5th top moment of the 2016 season, I spoke of the talk with Shawn Devenish.  We spoke about how big it was to see him tie the game.  As the game went extra innings, we took the field for the 7th inning.  The beepball gods must have smiled on us at that moment.  Chad Sumner led off the inning with a strike out.  Then Richie Krussel who had scored 4 times in the contest also struck out.  This marked their 8th whiff of the game.  More amazingly, five of those 8 whiffs came in the last two innings.  Colorado was struggling.  Demtrious Morrow would end the inning with a ball hit up the gut of the defense.  As he lugged his pulled hamstring to the base, Guy Zuccarello made the stop.  The Renegades floated back to the bench they were so high.

Christian Thaxton had an up and down game. He had scored three huge runs but came up empty in the 5th and 6th as he was trying too hard.  Rob Dias started the game 0-4 but had scored to start the 6th inning rally.  He was so pumped to lead off this inning that he told me he was going to end this game.  One pitch and he launched it by everyone into left field.  If he could have seen that hit, he may have done some sort of bat flip and walked to the base.  This is beepball..and as we saw with Shawn, running the base can be hard at times.  Dias sped to first and hit it with ease.  Walk off!  We were off to play Indy.  We were just one of two teams still alive and undefeated.  The sense of accomplishment was amazing.  Sadly we did not have a ton of time to revel in the victory as Indy awaited us.  Seeing Rob’s confidence and watching him hit that blast was awesome.  The team mobbed him at first base.  It was just a magical day.  First holding off the Comets (that moment was #4 on my list…and Rob made the final clinching defensive stop in that match) and now he comes back with the big hit.  In just 3 years of play Rob has 2 walk-off hits (no-one in team history has more).  Dias will go down as one of the biggest clutch hitters in Renegade history.   It’s just too bad it took an encounter with Bryan Grillo in a department store before he came down.  So many lost years he could have been racking up stats and helping this ball club grow.

#2 We Made the Show and We Did It Our Way

Renegades pre-game for the National Anthem

The Renegades lined up on the 1st Base line before the title game

The night before the Championship game I took some time to reflect.  I did a lot of thinking about how we could win the title game.  But I also got caught up in thoughts about how happy I was to have made the final game.  I thought about all the hard work every past Renegade coach and player had put in.  I thought about how happy they would be for us and themselves to be involved in what we have built.  I truly felt torn about calling everyone to let them know we made it and doing what it takes to prepare to make sure the guys were ready for the big game.  Clearly, I picked the later, but I was equally as excited to make sure every person who had ever supported us or played for us knew we had achieved a goal.  For many of us, this was a goal we had never truly thought about.  Every season, I was quoted as saying, we are not going to the world series with the goal of winning a title.  Most of the league knew this when we booked flights to leave during the title game.  A few times, I even said, I would personally pay for the flights if we ever had to actually play in that title game.  It was not meant as disrespect to the league, it was a way to save the team thousands of dollars.  The first few years of this message, it was often greeted with anger from a few players whose heads were in the clouds about the true reality of how stacked things are against a home grown team.  2016 was the first year in 14 seasons, I told the team, we would take a true shot at the title if people worked hard.

Our team is unique in this league.  We do a lot of stuff differently.  We do a lot of stuff our own way.  Part of it is the culture we have built, part of it is the style we bring to our team as coaches.  At times in recent years, I had always wondered, would we ever get a shot at the big game and what would that feel like.  For me personally, getting there was confirmation that what we have built….though different is very effective.  A we stood in front of the crowd for this game, when they announced our team…I took great pride in what we had built.  My only regret at the time was we just didn’t have enough time to celebrate the success.  Since there is no history book on beep baseball, the game’s stats can be hard to come by.  I know for a fact since 2003 the Renegades were the first team to play in a title game where EVERY player and coach on the roster played 100% of their career in our uniform.  That should be a goal of more teams.  That is the definition of a team.  Though we lost the game, we got there as a team and I believe we did something that may not have happened since the 1970’s.  A rare feat…for a rare team that I was so proud of that week.  This day was validation that the hard work of every coach and player to ever wear the Renegade colors helped us grow to the team we have become today.  It was a very proud moment to be a Renegade.

#1 The Amazing Comeback

The team erupts after Christian Thaxton’s walk-off hit sends us to the title game. Coach, Jamie Dickerson is fired up!

We are playing on the championship field in the semi-finals against Colorado.  Joe McCormick is in the hospital with coach Mike Marciello and Thanh has been relegated to the bench by Mike and Yuki.  We are in the top of the 6th inning and I’m sitting on the bench with Ron looking at the situation. we are down 8-6 and they have their 6-1-2 hitters up.  If we can hold them, we still have a lot of work to do.  We have our 4-5-6 hitters coming up in the last inning and they are a combined  1-9 with 5 strike outs (though one of them was on me due to a gigantic mistake in the first inning).  Somehow we needed to shut them down…and then score just one run from the bottom of our line up to turn the line up over for Christian Thaxton.  Justen made the first defensive out, Guy made the next defensive out and then one of the best two way players, Ethan Johnston who had scored 4 straight times in this game miraculously struck out.  We were still breathing.  Larry Haile represented our best chance for a run and he went down swinging.  We had decided that we were going to hit for Joe Yee who had gone 0-3 with three strike outs.  Joe Quintanilla was the choice.  We just felt he was not going to let the moment get to him and had hopes he could get a knock to right field.  With three strikes on him he tagged a line drive up the middle and scored.  It was the only run he had scored all week.  We were pumped.  And we achieved our goal of making sure the line-up turned over, After Guy was put out on a close play, our lead-off hitter, Christian Thaxton then gave everyone more drama.  On the 6th pitch he saw, he hit a line drive and tied the game.  Our season was still alive.

In the 7th as Ron and I sat on the bench celebrating Quintanilla’s hit we again assessed the situation.  Due up for us was our 3-4-5 hitters.  We knew it would get hard if Colorado scored.  While they batted, I was looking at video and I saw why we had been struggling with Larry.  I showed Ron and we decided to try something different when we pitched to him.  Colorado plated 2 runs.  We now needed 3 runs to win in a game where we had only scored 8 runs in 6 innings.  With one out, Larry came to the plate.  The adjustment was on.  On the first pitch, he hit a pop fly to left and scored.  I was pumped that the analysis we did worked.  It gave us life!  That brought one of the heroes of the 6th inning up.  If either he or Guy could score we could get it back to Thaxton.  Again with three strikes, Quintanilla then hit a grounder up the first base line.  I watched him get out of the box with a horrific line.  He was running in fair territory.  I was just waiting for the umpire to yell “stop”….but then something amazing happened.  The first baseman ran into foul ground looking for the ball.  Q ran by him in fair territory.  The umps said nothing, there was no collision other than Q hitting the base and tying the game.  Holy crap, he tied the game on what sure looked like a play that would be called dead!  Q had scored twice in two at bats.  He had only scored three runs in the entire season before this game!  Thaxton would get his chance to be the hero with two outs and on the 5th pitch he hit a weak pop fly to the right side and jetted down the 3rd baseline and was SAFE!  We came back…again!  We made the title game!  We did it with Joe McCormick in the hospital and Thanh sidelined.  Mac was in our hearts and for the last few innings of that game we changed every player’s calling card to “Joe Mac” …”Way back”. As a way to honor our fallen teammate…and in hopes he was listening to the game on facebook. The fun thing was that no matter how little sight a player had…they all found their way to Thaxton at thirdbase and celebrated.  It was the biggest win in team history.  It was a thrill, it was a surprise, it was a total team effort and  it was an honor.  To see the moment right after Thaxton scored, Sara Cochran caught it on a facebook video here:

Thank you for taking time to read these posts and relive some of these moments with us.  These are the things that drive the passion.  These are the moments we work for.  These are the things that keep our volunteers and players coming back for more each year.  These are things that make us an Exciting team to be a part of!  To relive some of the top 10 moments of the past you can see them here dating back to the 2013 season when we started this tradition:

Smartest Player in the NBBA has to be Aqil Sajjad

Picture of Aqil Sajjad in the field with text from the show Big Bang Theory

Who is the Smartest player in the NBBA?  Well, there is no official way to measure this but Aqil Sajjad would likely be at the top of any list.  Afterall, how many NBBA players (let alone how many people) have a PHD from Harvard in Theoretical Particle Physics.  Aqil graduated from Harvard in 2014 and what he has accomplished without his sight is amazing and inspirational for many.  He has been the subject of many articles and recently was part of a podcast.  Keep in mind that Aqil has no usable sight and relies on technology and his big brain to help him with all of the equations.

Aqil On The Field

Aqil Sajjad played with the Renegades from 2009-2015.  He took the 2016 season off to get married and prepare for the next chapter in his life, but has hopes of being able to return to the team in 2017.  In his time on the field, he has been one of the most dedicated players. Through the 2016 season, he ranks 10th all-time in games played with 87.  He also owns a lifetime .282 batting average and has made 39 stops on defense.  He ranks 5th in team history in putting the ball into play at 81.3%.  Beyond the stats, we will always remember him falling asleep on a short van ride back to a hotel and then falling out of the van when the door opened.  Aqil – he is for Real!

Here are some links to get to know the Aqil Sajjad, the smartest guy in the league

2016 NBBA All Rookie Teams

Story by Rob Weissman

One critcal part of beep baseball is the development of rookies.  We want to encourage as many new players as we can to play this game. Opportunity must be made available for them to play.  The league is very proud of its growth over the years, as it should be.  Moving the World Series around the country has helped spring up multiple teams in Georgia (Atlanta Eclipse, Athens Timberwolves, Columbus Midnight Stars).  Iowa brought us the Reapers.  Rochester, NY gave us the Pioneers.  These teams have added so much depth and helped fill out the league.  Most of these teams are filled with players who had never played the game before.  The world series brought awareness to their cities and opportunity for their visually impaired population.

The opportunity we still have as a league is growing the existing programs.  Rosters seem to change a lot.  Heck, even new teams will pop up. The things is these new teams are rarely filled with new players.  Often times, they are the same players just playing in a different jersey.  A perfect example of this is the Indy Edge which the league considers a new team.  No disrespect to the Edge, but they listed 16 players on their roster.  Two of those players came from the New Jersey Lightning.  Only one player on the roster had never appeared in an NBBA World Series, Chris Dunleavy. Is this is really a new team and is the league truly growing?

It would be great if we can track how many new players are joining each year (Steve Guerra is starting to track this…applauds to him for sure).  That metric would be telling.  How many of them are on new teams (The entire Seattle roster were rookies this year). Vs how many are on existing teams.  to grow our great sport, we need to do more in our local communities to get players involved.  This should be the goal over trying to win a ring.  A goal to win a ring by filling your roster with players that grew up in your system.

The 2016 Championship game between the Renegades and the Indy Thunder may have not been the best game ever.  Heck, Boston got 12 runned. But it was a symbol.  A symbol that a team can win without free agents.  A team can win by growing their roster.  Yes, Boston and Indy got there taking different routes.  The Thunder’s players have played on many teams including Chicago, Kansas and even other Indy teams.  It is believed that everyone on that roster comes from Indy.  Look at the Renegades.  Every player on that roster has played 100% of their games in a Renegade uniform and has grown up in the Boston system.  Each team on that field despite the slight differences mentioned above got there for one main reason.  Rookies!

As we have done in past years, we have spent this space looking at who the top rookies are.  This is not official.  There is no real award given out and our definition of a rookie is soley based on one person’s knowledge of the league.  Since we only have world series stats to look at, a rookie is merely defined as someone who Rob Weissman does not think has ever played in a World Series in previous years.  This may have a level of error in it.

As the league does, we will use the same metrics to name the all star teams.  Offense will use batting average and defense will use stops per game (a metric that is horrific in so many ways …but worse for rookies).   why is the defensive metric bad for rookies?  Its very hard to teach a rookie defense and even harder to put them up front in the defense where all the stops are made.  These defensive stats will only tell part of the story.  Each player on this list should be applauded.  Equally important, the teams who recruited them and coached them should take pride as well.
Let’s start with the defensive all stars this year.  It was hard to find players who put up big numbers here.  Again, many rookies take time before earning the trust of their team to go up front on the point to lead the defense.

All Rookie Defense Team

Defensivley all we can use to rank the players is defensive stops…and compare their stops to how many their team made.  There is a theme here in that all of these players played on teams in the 2nd half of the league.  Atlanta finished 10th and had player make the list.  This is no knock on any player, it makes a point that its very hard for a top tier team to break a rookie into the defense.  Defense takes time to learn.

Name Team Team finish Games played Stops Avg
Jesus Baeza BCS 16th 9 38 4.2
Ricky Kim Seattle 18th 7 19 2.7
Carnell Walker Atlanta 10th 8 18 2.3
Bryan Duarte Arizona 15th 9 8 .89
Brian Harrington Rochester 19th 7 5 .71
John Margist Southwest 11th 10 6 .60

Kudos to all of these players.  A special kudos to the first three players on this list because its so hard to make a lot of stops on defense as a rookie.  Defense is the hardest thing to learn

  • Baeza was the only player we played against on this list.  Jesus was responsible for 51% of the BCS Outlaws defensive stops.  Baeza made 4 stops against the Renegades which became common ground for him.  He made 4 or more stops in 6 of the 9 games he played in.  His best game was a 9 stop effort against the Bayou City Heat.  Baeza led BCS in stops in every game they played during the week.  He and Crystal Stark (from last years defensive all star rookie team) counted for 73% of the stops for BCS
  • Ricky Kim is on a team full of Rookies as this was Seattle’s first World Series ever.  Kim has played for Seattle for three years prior to this, but they had never played in an official NBBA event before against experienced teams.  Kim stopped 59% of the balls for the Seattle defense.  He made 4 stops in four of the seven games Seattle played in.  He led the team in stops in 5 of the 6 games Seattle played (they played one game in which the team never made a put out against Atlanta)
  • Carnell Walker was an exciting young prospect for the up and coming Atlanta Eclipse. Walker was 2nd on the Eclipse with 18 stops behind the vacuum of Isaiah Wilcox (who led the league with 53 stops).  Walker’s best game was against the BCS outlaws when he made 6 stops.  He also had a 3 stop game against Tyler.  Walker was one of the best two way rookies in the league as he also scored 11 times and hit .344 just missing that list on offense.
  • Bryan Duarte was aa Arizona Phenom and finished 2nd on the Phenoms with 8 stops.  His best effort was a three stop game against the Southwest Slammers in the first game of the World Series.  He had 4 games without a stop as well which goes to show you how hard it is to get rookies playing time on defense
  • Brian Harrington is 5th on this list with just 5 stops.  He was third on the Rochester Pioneer team in stops.  His best game was a 2 stop performance against the BCS Outlaws
  • John Margist makes the list with a mere 6 stops…though he led all rookies in games played with 10.  Margist did not show much defense all week until the 10th game.  In that last game he had three stops (50% of his total for the week) against the Lonestar Roadrunners.

All Rookie Offense Team

Offensively, we can look at batting average and strike outs to get a feel of how well the rooks are doing

Name Team Team Finish Runs At bats Strike outs Average
Gerald Dycus Indy 1st 23 34 3 .676
Zach Buhler Indy 1st 19 31 4 .613
John Margist Southwest 11th 22 45 13 .489
Ricky Ruzica San Antonio 5th 17 36 6 .472
Eddie Culp Iowa 17th 10 24 9 .417
Todd Paulson Minnesota 9th 9 24 9 .375
Shawn Devenish BOSTON 2nd 12 34 8 .353
  • Gerald Dycus was not only the class of the Rookies, he was one of the top hitters in the league.  Dycus finished with the third best batting average in the league during the week.  Only five players in the league scored more times than Dycus on the series.  This rookie has speed and power to all fields.  He is dangerous .  He scored a hat trick in 7 of the 8 games he played.  He will be a force in this league for years to come.  As a rookie he only struck out 9% of the time.  We played against Dycus twice and he went 6-11 against the Renegades and did not strike out.
  • Zach Buhler is the second player on this list and the second rookie from the Indy Thunder.  Its not hard to see how they won the title with these two rooks.  Buhler hit a mere .613 which was good enough for 6th in the league and only 2nd behind his teammate amongst all rookies.  Buhler is incredibly fast and has power to boot.  He is another tough out.  Buhler also had a hat trick in 5 of the 7 games he played in.  Buhler played against the Renegades and was 6-10 with just one whiff.
  • John Margist is this years Hideki Matsui.  We know he is no rookie to Beepball as he plays for the Philly Fire.  But we have to be fair and put him on this list because we believe this was his first World Series.  John had a big tournament t0 put him on the map in Chicago this year.  But The Renegades knew he could hit before that.  Only 3 players in the league had more At-bats than John.  He either led or tied the Slammers in most runs scored in a game for them in 7 of the 10 games they played. He scored three runs in a game 5 times during the week.  His strike out rate is high (29%) but keep in mind he lives in Philly and did not work with this team much during the year.  Margist was 3-4 against the Renegades with just 1 strike out.  He was responsible for 3 of the 4 runs the Slammers scored on the Renegades.
  • Ricky Ruzika should be no surprise to this list based on the fact he is young and played baseball. Ruzika has a sweet swing and some power.  He had his best game against the Austin Blackhawks when he scored four runs in a game (an unofficially may have been one of two rookies to accomplish that feat this season).  He also had a trifecta against Lonestar. Ricky played his first World Series game against the Renegades and was 2-5 with 2 strike outs.  It was the only game he struck out twice in all week.
  • Eddie Culp was a surprise to this list for sure.  Iowa was putting up some runs for the first time ever this season.  Culp was a big part of that.  Eddie represented 25% of the Reaper offense with his 10 runs as he was second on the Reapers in runs scored.  He scored a pair against Bayou City, Southwest, NJ Titans and the Rochester Pioneers.  Though we did not see him play, his stats show he was a huge help to the Reaper offense.
  • Todd Paulson scored his first career run against the Renegades and it was a nice moment for him that we enjoyed.   Paulson did not see a lot of playing time early but as his big bat got hot, he earned more playing time.  He was just 1-4 on the first day of the Series in three games.  He then had a 4 run game against Seattle(we believe he and Ruzika were the only rookie to do this in the series).  Paulson may not be the fleetest of foot but he has some good pop in his bat.
  • Yes.  Thats 6 players…..BUT, this is a Renegade web site and we are going to play homage to the 7th best batting average in the league because its our award and this rookie helped us get into the Title game.  That made three rookies in the title game!
    • Shawn Devenish.  Shawn got off to a shaky start with the Renegades this year as he sprained his wrist in the 2nd game of his career.  All year, he was bothered by a bum wrist.  When he squared up the ball…he could hit it as far if not further than any rookie on this list.  Shawn’s 12 runs were 5th most amongst all rookies in the league and he did this playing against the hardest schedule in the league (thats an article for another time).  Devenish had multi run games against San Antonio, Minnesota, Chicago and the Indy Thunder.  Those are some of the top teams in the league.  He also scored the game tying run against the Colorado Storm in the 6th inning that forced the game to go into extra innings.  Putting a rookie in that spot after he was 0-4 with a missed base was an amazing way for his him to show his mental toughness.  He deserved to be on this list…especially since we played against 5 of the 6 guys on the list and he deserves to be mentioned amongst the best rookie hitters in the league!

Shaen Devenish hitting a base is Boston's rep on the NBBA Rookie teamAfter having a Renegade Rookie lead the league in hitting the past two years (Rob Dias and Christian Thaxton), We added Shawn Devenish to the mix this year.  Though he did not lead the league, he did make a major contribution and scored the 5th most runs of any rookie at the series.  Shawn found the Renegades when he was just looking for some sports to play for the blind.  He found our web site on Google.  Shawn came out and played in a charity game with the team in September of 2015 and was super excited.  He was sold even though he was not 100% sure where he would live.  He was going to have a long commute wherever he was.  We were unsure if that commute would be a barrier to him playing.  Shawn filled out the CAF grant and we knew he was serious.  He then made the trek to almost every practice despite being nearly a 2 hour round trip ride.

Coach Weissman knew pretty quickly that we had a special player because Shawn was very coachable from the start.  His knowledge of hitting even passed some of the veterans when the players were quizzed about their mechanics as he aced his “test”.  Devenish worked hard, had fun and was a great teammate from the start even though he bolted right after each practice.  His first game, he was the lead off hitter and the rover in the defense against the New Jersey Lightning and he scored in his 2nd at-bat of the game to the delight of his teammates.  In his second game he scored again against the Long Island Bombers but also hurt his wrist going over third base.  He tried to play through it and every swing he had left him with a grimace on his face.  The medical team pulled him out and he was done playing at that time.  We determined Shawn needed to rest his wrist and we shut him down for a short time.  Every practice, we taped him up and we held our breathe to see how he would do in Philly.

He told the team he felt fine, but we taped him anyway and he again played in the first two games of the Philly tournament.  We moved him up in the line up and in his 3rd game, the first game of the Philly tourney.  The result, he scored three runs (which were critical since the game went 8 innings).  He followed that up scoring one more run against Long Island before it was decided his wrist had enough and we shut him down again.  He was sore after playing.  We had just over two weeks to get him ready for the World Series.

2LA_0518

Coach. Dr. Mike Marciello was one of the medical staff to keep Shawn on the field. He is shown here wrapping Shawn up before a game. Yuki, Peg and Lisa all helped him stay on the field with tape and exercises through the summer

Thankfully, we have an amazing medical team and they were able to help him strengthen the wrist and wrapped him every practice.  Shawn had no limits on him at the World Series though we kept a watchful eye on him.  We know he was never at 100% the whole season.  We found out that he loves to play and is willing to play through pain.  Shawn was a critical part of our success this season and was surely one of the most impressive offensive rookies in the game in 2016.

Introducing rookies to the game is one of the most exciting parts of being a coach.  Each year some of the most memorable moments for the Renegade coaching staff involves watching a new player succeed at the game.  We celebrate their first runs and first defensive outs.  Developing new talent is hard.  Its not only hard to teach them, its even harder to recruit players because the blind community is a small population.

Rookies are imperative to the long term success of the team.  When we looked at the roster the Renegades brought to the World Series.  39% of the roster joined the Renegades in the past three seasons.  The Renegades are one of the few teams that have this dynamic.  Not only has it helped improve our culture and our game, its has helped so many people learn and enjoy the game which leads to more opportunity for the blind community to play ball!

To see the previous NBBA All Rookie team rosters click the links below

 

 

The Renegade Report Podcast & Joe Quintanilla

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our 8th installment of the Renegade report features Tim Syphers talking with Joe Quintanilla.  “Q” is the longest tenured player on the team as he is just one of two active players still playing from the original 2002 World Series team.  As one of the guys who was there when the team first started, he has seen a whirlwind of change through the years.  He has gone from the best hitter on the team to a savvy veteran who was called on two deliver two of the biggest runs in team history during our march to the title game in 2016.  To date, Joe Quintanilla is the team leader in games played (181 of the 205 total), at0 bats (575) and strike outs (143).  He ranks 2nd in team history with 170 runs scored and at the time of this post is 10th all time in defensive stops with 71 and 13th in history with a .290 batting average.

To get the podcast started, we have created an account on soundcloud and you can find the podcast here

Please follow Tim and his Journey to tell our stories!

Tim worked with us to develop this podcast to improve his radio skills and to help the team.  If you have a passion you want to pursue whether its journalism, fundraising, project management, design, Public relations…We have plenty of opportunities…just ask us at bostonrenegades@gmail.com and maybe we can partner with you!

If you want more…you can listen to our other pod casts below

Episode 7 – Rob “Hot Tub” Thayer – Rob joined the team in 2011.  As a child his doctors said he would never be able to play sports.  Then he found Beep Baseball.  Rob is motivated to be part of this team because it has done so much for his health.  He credits playing ball with the team as a big factor in his weight getting to its lowest point in many years.  Its also staying off!  His goal is to keep losing weight to see if he can rid himself of the Diabetes he battles every day.  Rob is one of the best teammates you can ask for.  No matter when he gets in the game, you will always hear the team get fired up with a Scream of “Hot Tub”.  Rob has played in 44 games in his Renegade career to date and Coach Weissman has deemed 2016 as the “year of Hot Tub”

Episode 6 – Melissa Hoyt – The only active female player on the team.  Melissa has played battles more than just blindness when she plays.  Her health problems make it very hard for her to compete.  Sometimes winning for her is just being able to be on the field with her teammates.  She has a different perspective on things and she loves to play ball.  When she is healthy, she can play some solid defense!

Episode 5 – Shayne Cantan – The man we call Hawaiian Punch owns the single season record for most runs, at-bats and batting average when he scored 50 runs and hit .617 in the 2010 season.  He is just one of 2 players to top .600 in a season for the Renegades in a season.

Episode 4 – Jason Lenicheck one of the long time volunteers with the Renegades.  Ace has been with the team since 2004 and has helped shape the culture of the Renegades and coached all facets of the game including hitting and as a defensive caller.

Episode 3 – Christian Thaxton, The rookie sensation from 2015 who took the league by storm and made an all-star team as a rookie

Episode 2 – Larry Haile, the All-time Renegade leader in runs scored and one of the most amazing visually impaired people you will ever meet

Episode 1 – Guy Zuccarello, a former defensive MVP of the World Series and one of the leaders of the Renegades

 

The Renegade Report Podcast & Rob Thayer

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our 7th installment of the Renegade report features Tim Syphers talking with Rob Thayer, the oldest player on our active roster at the moment. Rob joined the team in 2011.  As a child his doctors said he would never be able to play sports.  Then he found Beep Baseball.  Rob is motivated to be part of this team because it has done so much for his health.  He credits playing ball with the team as a big factor in his weight getting to its lowest point in many years.  Its also staying off!  His goal is to keep losing weight to see if he can rid himself of the Diabetes he battles every day.  Rob is one of the best teammates you can ask for.  No matter when he gets in the game, you will always hear the team get fired up with a Scream of “Hot Tub”.  Rob has played in 44 games in his Renegade career to date and Coach Weissman has deemed 2016 as the “year of Hot Tub”

To get the podcast started, we have created an account on soundcloud and you can find the podcast here

Please follow Tim and his Journey to tell our stories!

Tim worked with us to develop this podcast to improve his radio skills and to help the team.  If you have a passion you want to pursue whether its journalism, fundraising, project management, design, Public relations…We have plenty of opportunities…just ask us at bostonrenegades@gmail.com and maybe we can partner with you!

 

If you want more…you can listen to our other pod casts below

Episode 6 – Melissa Hoyt – The only active female player on the team.  Melissa has played battles more than just blindness when she plays.  Her health problems make it very hard for her to compete.  Sometimes winning for her is just being able to be on the field with her teammates.  She has a different perspective on things and she loves to play ball.  When she is healthy, she can play some solid defense!

Episode 5 – Shayne Cantan – The man we call Hawaiian Punch owns the single season record for most runs, at-bats and batting average when he scored 50 runs and hit .617 in the 2010 season.  He is just one of 2 players to top .600 in a season for the Renegades in a season.

Episode 4 – Jason Lenicheck one of the long time volunteers with the Renegades.  Ace has been with the team since 2004 and has helped shape the culture of the Renegades and coached all facets of the game including hitting and as a defensive caller.

Episode 3 – Christian Thaxton, The rookie sensation from 2015 who took the league by storm and made an all-star team as a rookie

Episode 2 – Larry Haile, the All-time Renegade leader in runs scored and one of the most amazing visually impaired people you will ever meet

Episode 1 – Guy Zuccarello, a former defensive MVP of the World Series and one of the leaders of the Renegades

 

The Renegade Report Podcast & Melissa Hoyt

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our sixth installment of the Renegade report features Tim Syphers talking with Melissa Hoyt, Our only active female player on our roster at the moment. Melissa joined the squad in the 2007 season and was the 2nd woman to ever play in a game in Renegade history.  She has played with every woman Renegade in team history (we have had 5 who have played in games).  Melissa has multiple health issues that limits her ability to log a lot of playing time but she finds great joy in being part of the team and watching the team grow.  She works hard to educate herself about the game.  In 2001, she made her first world Series after competing for years locally on the East Coast.  In 2015, she set career highs in games played (6) and she ranks 22nd all-time in games played for the Renegades at 20.

To get the podcast started, we have created an account on soundcloud and you can find the podcast here

Please follow Tim and his Journey to tell our stories!

Tim worked with us to develop this podcast to improve his radio skills and to help the team.  If you have a passion you want to pursue whether its journalism, fundraising, project management, design, Public relations…We have plenty of opportunities…just ask us at bostonrenegades@gmail.com and maybe we can partner with you!

If you want more…you can listen to our other pod casts below

Episode 5 – Shayne Cantan – The man we call Hawaiian Punch owns the single season record for most runs, at-bats and batting average when he scored 50 runs and hit .617 in the 2010 season.  He is just one of 2 players to top .600 in a season for the Renegades in a season.

Episode 4 – Jason Lenicheck one of the long time volunteers with the Renegades.  Ace has been with the team since 2004 and has helped shape the culture of the Renegades and coached all facets of the game including hitting and as a defensive caller.

Episode 3 – Christian Thaxton, The rookie sensation from 2015 who took the league by storm and made an all-star team as a rookie

Episode 2 – Larry Haile, the All-time Renegade leader in runs scored and one of the most amazing visually impaired people you will ever meet

Episode 1 – Guy Zuccarello, a former defensive MVP of the World Series and one of the leaders of the Renegades

 

Joe Quintanilla is Not Your Average Joe

During the month of May, Not Your Average Joe’s in Watertown is running a promotion to help the Boston Renegades.  If you dine there on a Sunday in May the Boston Renegades will received 15% of your check (excluding tax, Tip and booze) if you give them a copy of this flyer (or show it to them on your phone).  Please let us know your interest and share our Facebook event with friends

Not Your Average Joe's coupon

As many Renegade fans know we have had many players on our roster over the years named Joe…and they are definitely Not Your Average Joe.

Joe Q SAFE!Joe Quintanilla was the first “Not Your average Joe” to join the Boston Renegades back in 2001.  As a young kid, Joe Q wanted to be the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox!  When asked in school what do you want to do when you grow up, he would answer “the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox, like Jim Rice!”  Retinitis Pigmentosa got in the way of Joe’s childhood dream, and he was never able to play little league.

In 2001, everything changed, Joe Q was one of the first players to join the Boston Renegades.  “Hitting a ball that is pitched to you was and is an awesome experience!” He says.  “I finally was able to play the outfield and wear number 14!”  For sixteen years, Joe Q has been patrolling the outfield for the Renegades and leads the team in most games played and 2nd in runs scored.  Join him at Not Your Average Joe’s Sunday!

While at the 2010 World Series in Minnesota, the Rochester Post Bulletin ran a few articles in the sports page about the athletes at the Beep Baseball World Series.  One of those articles was about our very own Joe Quintanilla.  The article was titled “Leads by Example” and was subtitled “Nearly blind, Boston man has blazed an inspiring trail”.  The article is no longer available on line but we have a picture of the article that appeared in print with a full color picture of Joe in his batting stance and blind fold on.  We apologize for not having the text in a format for screen readers.  Click the photo to read the article.

Article in the Rochester Post Bulletin from 2010 on Joe Quintanilla

Dr. Frates donates time to the Renegades

Dr. Beth FratesIn the summer of 2015, Dr. Beth Frates found her self watching a bunch of blind guys running around playing beep baseball and joking with each other.  She was there to support her colleague, Dr. Mike Marciello, who is a hitting coach on the team.  Dr. Frates found some inspiration from this group of Renegades and she even helped them out a few times when the coach forgot equipment at home.  That was just the beginning of her showing her big heart and willingness to help.  She wanted to find a way to donate her time and skills.

She wanted to help the Renegades in some capacity but did not have the time to become a coach of the squad.  She dropped a hint that her professional skills may be able to help many of the Renegades.  On Sunday night, May 22 she jumped on a call with 14 Renegades and she bought a passion with her to help the team.  Hitting, running, defense are all skills a beepball player needs to succeed.   The Renegades work on these skills tirelessly.  In addition the Renegades have created a culture where teamwork is essential and help is available for people on and off the field.  In recent years, the Renegades have worked hard at mental toughness as well.   However to get to the next level an athlete needs to take care of his/her body.  Tournament time is very hard on the ball players.  Very few sports require a player to play three games (which can last 2.5-3 hours a game) a day  for three days in a row in 90-100 degree heat.

Dr. Frates took time out of her work day to understand the needs of the Renegades.  She took time to listen to the rigors of a beep baseball season and what the Renegade way of handling things looks like.  We found many of the things we do are some the best practices.  However, she had some amazing tips to help the Renegades in all walks of their life.

Dr. Frates is a trained physiatrist and is a Director of Wellness Programming at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and is an assistant Professor at Harvard Medical school.  She had a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with the players.  She created a program for the team to discuss ways players could perform better on the field.  She brought many tips about nutrition, meal planning, Carb loading, Pre game meals, Lunch time strategies and dinner strategies when at tournaments.  Foods to gravitate toward and ingredients to avoid.  She discussed the importance of hydration, ways to get hydration and other causes of muscle cramps.  She brought stories of what to eat after games to improve recovery time.  And when we thought it was over, she told us all about the importance of sleep, stretching, optimism and breathing to reduce stress and optimize performance.  She had passion, an understanding of our players needs and spent an additional 30 minutes answering questions from the team.  We are very grateful to have had this opportunity.   The lessons she taught us will help the Renegades perform better on the fields and compete for a championship in 2016!

 

But enough of this writer babbling….what did some the players have to say when it was over?

Joe Yee Dr. Frates, thank you for taking the time to speak with us about nutrition and healthy living.  The topics of Hydration and Healthy Plate is especially important to me, as I have been struggling with meal planning, and choosing the right things to eat.  It was great to hear about the examples and suggestions of the different foods that are healthy for us, and this will help us improve athletically, and our overall living.
Rob Dias  I’m excited to try and implement  some of her suggestions leading up to game time. I don’t think I can commit to eating quinoa and wheat berry (or something similar) every day, but I can certainly eat those things a couple of times a week. There are a few healthy eating options near my work so leading up to some of our games I can be sure to focus on those foods she suggested. Luckily for me I’m not a big breakfast eater, so it’s nice to know that some of my choices I have made in the past for breakfast before a game falls in line with some of her suggestions.  I really think that the call last night built a lot of value for us.
Photo of Justen Cantan The information provided was extremely informative, especially since it was tailored towards the team, our goals, and our current structure of practices and games. As a big advocate of health and wellness, I especially love how she tied in everything to the importance of self-care and overall health.
Photo of Guy Zuccarello Many thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with the team about nutrition, health, and wellness.  I learned a great deal in general and found your information about post-game recovery eating to be particularly enlightening.  I am sure we will make great strides as a team armed with this valuable knowledge.
Photo of Shayne Cantan
Dr. Fates was nothing short of fabulous, she made everything interesting and her energy was contageous.  I made sure that I took notes, questions that I have had for months, maybe even years have been answered.  Perhaps what I really enjoyed though, was her ability to incorporate the nutritional part of athletics, with the mental part of it as well, the importance of a good diet, sleep, and proper breathing.  I am also excited to hear her ideas for recovery for people who are Lactose intolerant, she seemed to enjoy the possibility of learning something new, while continuing to be an educator.  Ultimately, if you love what you do, it’ll show, she clearly does, and I’m grateful she was willing to bestow her knowledge onto us.

Its volunteers like Dr. Beth Frates who help make a difference in the lives of our players and we are grateful for her time and energy!

Joe Yee is Not Your Average Joe

During the month of May, Not Your Average Joe’s in Watertown is running a promotion to help the Boston Renegades.  If you dine there on a Sunday in May the Boston Renegades will received 15% of your check (excluding tax, Tip and booze) if you give them a copy of this flyer (or show it to them on your phone).  Please let us know your interest and share our Facebook event with friends

Not Your Average Joe's coupon

  As many Renegade fans know we have had many players on our roster over the years named Joe…and they are definitely Not Your Average Joe.

Joe Yee running toward First in 2014.  Photo by Lisa Andrews

Joe Yee running toward First in 2014. Photo by Lisa Andrews

Joe Yee is definitely not your average Joe. Handsome and smart, Joe is a Systems Engineer for Harvard Management Company.  Joe did not just slip into that job or ‘know somebody who knew somebody’; he worked his way up starting as a desktop support person and moving from lead instructor for Microsoft BackOffice to his current position. But because all work and no play makes a dull man indeed, Joe is also involved with organizations such as Ski for Light and the Association of Blind Citizens. Founded in 1975, Ski for Light teaches visually impaired people how to ski and give participants who have already mastered the basics the chance to improve their skills and endurance. Joe is definitely in the latter category and had skied 85 KM when last in Anchorage.  He has also participated in New England Regional Ski for Light. With Ski for Light, Joe has skied in Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, and Utah, to name a few, and he keeps going back for more. With the Association of Blind Citizens, Joe plays competitive Beep Baseball, and this year, his goal is to become a force to be reckoned with.  His driven nature to keep improving himself is spirited by the supportive volunteer coaches of the Boston Renegades.

Much as Joe prizes work and sports, he is also a family man. There are at least two nieces and several cousins who can attest to the fact that Joe is uncle and cousin extraordinaire, and that he is a cherished and beloved member of a family that does everything from learn Mandarin Chinese (Joe already knows Cantonese); to frolic on Cape Cod and eat Whoopie  Pies (don’t ask!). Joe’s friends would say the same. They cherish his quiet humor, his technical prowess, and his unwavering generosity and kindness. Joe’s biggest fan, however, might just be Cecilia, his first guide dog. Joe and Cecelia became a pair in 2005. As soon as he left Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Joe knew he had a trusted companion and guide. She helped Joe explore new adventures, travel safely, and navigate new and unfamiliar places around the country. Cecelia is Joe’s best friend, and she is enjoying retirement after ten and a half years of service.

It’s a pity guide dogs can’t ski or play Beep Ball, but who knows, maybe this not your average Joe can do something about that! One can hope.

– Bio written by Megan S.

If you would like to hear Joe Talk about his experience you can see him on youtube below

 

Joe McCormick is Not Your Average Joe

During the month of May, Not Your Average Joe’s in Watertown is running a promotion to help the Boston Renegades.  If you dine there on a Sunday in May the Boston Renegades will received 15% of your check (excluding tax, Tip and booze) if you give them a copy of this flyer (or show it to them on your phone).  Please let us know your interest and share our Facebook event with friends

Not Your Average Joe's coupon

  As many Renegade fans know we have had many players on our roster over the years named Joe…and they are definitely Not Your Average Joe.

Joe Mac - "the hardest working man in baseball)

Photo by Dina Rudick/Boston Globe

Joe McCormick was a happy, healthy 17 year old high school senior when he was diagnosed with a rare disease called Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). LHON causes rapid sudden central vision loss and within months Joe was legally blind. Before his diagnosis Joe was at the top of his class, the captain of his Robotics team, and the goalie of the varsity soccer team. He was slated to attend MIT in the fall and study mechanical engineering. He loved spending time with his friends and family, and especially his girlfriend, Ashley. One of Joe’s favorite things to do was drive his car. He loved the freedom of being able to just hop in his car and go.

Most people really struggle with vision loss. Joe found a way to accept it.  He told his friends “I may be going blind but I am still one of the luckiest people I know!” He went on to graduate from Harvard University with a degree in computer Science in just 4 years without any delays or extra time to help him with his vision loss.  Today, Joe is a happy, healthy 23 year old with a great job, a wonderful fiancé, and a beautiful new home. He is passionate about Beepball and loves playing the game with his amazing teammates.

On the field he has grown into one of the leaders of the Boston Renegades.  He is Not Your average Joe on the field as he has set a few team records and been named to league all-star teams in his short 4 year career. This High School soccer player turned beep baseball all star got off to a fast start in 2012 and set a team record by hitting .586 in is Rookie year with the Renegades (a 14-year history).  He never gives up and is always trying to make himself better and in 2014, he was named to the League All- star team when he hit .600 at the National World Series in Rochester, Minnesota.  In 2015, he became just the 2nd player in team history to hit .600 for an entire season as he  hit .606.   You will be amazed to see what he can accomplish with his vision loss because he is not your average Joe!

This Joe was also featured in an article in the Boston Globe in May of 2014.  Theses a must read article to see how he overcame the loss of his sight with a can do attitude and what he has been able to accomplish.

If you would like to hear Joe Talk about his experience you can see him on youtube below